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Prevalence of schizophrenia in a refuge for homeless men: a five year follow-up

  • Maree Teesson (a1) and Neil Buhrich (a2)
Extract

Until the mid 1950s, the management of persons suffering from chronic mental illness in Australia was the responsibility of the large mental hospital. With the advent of psychotropic drugs and concern about the ‘negative’ influence of the institutional environment on patients there was a shift to shorter but more frequent periods of hospital admission. As the pattern of shorter admissions increased, community services for the mentally ill were expanded in the early 1970s. Between 1950 and 1985 in the state of New South Wales, the numbers of patients in large mental hospitals decreased from 256 to 55 per 100 000 population. However, no special arrangements for accommodation, as distinct from treatment, were made for these ex-mental hospital patients. The decline in hospital numbers can be attributed to a general reduction in the length of hospital stays. Initially, there seemed to be no pressing need for extra accommodation in the community as the provision of social security benefits was adequate to allow patients without homes to afford basic accommodation, a situation different to that in the United States (Lamb, 1984).

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Ms M. Teesson, Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety Disorders, St Vincent's Hospital, 299 Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia
Footnotes
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A full list of references is available on request from Dr Teesson.

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References
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Andrews, G., Teesson, M., Stewart, G. & Hoult, J. (1990) Community placement of the chronic mentally ill. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 41, 184188.
Arce, A. A., Tadlock, M., Vergare, M. J. & Shapiro, H. (1983) A psychiatric profile of street people admitted to an emergency shelter. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 34, 812817.
Doutney, C. P., Buhrich, N., Virgona, A., Cohen, A. & Daniels, A. (1985) The prevalence of schizophrenia in a refuge for homeless men. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 19, 233238.
Keogel, P., Burnham, A. & Farr, R. K. (1988) The prevalence of specific psychiatric disorders among the homeless individuals in the inner city of Los Angeles. Archives of General Psychiatry, 45, 10851092.
Lamb, H. R. (1984) Deinstitutionalisation and the homeless mentally ill. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 35, 899907.
Richmond, D. (1983) The Richmond Report. New South Wales Inquiry into Health Services for Psychiatrically Ill and the Developmentally Disabled. Sydney: New South Wales Department of Health.
Robins, L. N., Helzer, J. E., Croughan, J. & Ratcliff, K. S. (1981) National Institute of Mental Health Diagnostic Interview Schedule: its history, characteristics and validity. Archives of General Psychiatry, 38, 381389.
Susser, E., Lovell, A. & Conover, S. (1988) Unravelling the causes of homelessness and of its association with mental illness. In Epidemiology and the Prevention of Mental Disorders (eds. Cooper, B. & Helgason, T.). London: Routledge & Kegan.
Susser, E., Conover, S. & Struening, E. (1989) Problems of epidemiologic method in assessing the type and extent of mental illness among homeless adults. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 40, 261265.
Wing, J. K. & Brown, G. W. (1970) Institutionalism and Schizophrenia. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Prevalence of schizophrenia in a refuge for homeless men: a five year follow-up

  • Maree Teesson (a1) and Neil Buhrich (a2)
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